Monday 22 February 2016


A consultant in the oil and gas industry might not be the usual background for a perfumery owner, but that is exactly the background of Sophia Fannon-Howell. Deco London, the latest Niche brand, has launched six fragrances based around a love of the 1920s. So, what would we learn about Sophia's own history during "Stephan's Six"?

What is the first smell that you can remember?
The smell I remember most from my early childhood is creosote. I loved the acrid coal-tar petrochemical smell. I associate the scent with hot summer days in the late 1970s and early 1980s when the sun would be melting the tarmac on the road, and my brothers and me would be eating blocks of ice cream in rectangular cones. It's a smell that makes me feel happy and secure and transports me back. It's probably illegal to creosote your fence these days, but I do catch a whiff from time to time.

What perfume do you remember your mum or dad wearing?
My mother could never afford expensive perfumes, but Blue Grass by Elizabeth Arden was a favourite of hers. For my dad it was Brut. My dad was never really into fragrances, he has sensitive skin and reacts badly to some ingredients, but I think he bought Brut along with every other male in the country in the 1970s!

What was the perfume of your twenties?
When I was at University in Manchester I fell for Dune by Dior. I remember seeing the adverts everywhere and went into the department store in town to try it. I had very little money being a student and I scrimped and saved to buy my first 50ml bottle. It had such a tactile bottle and I remember it having pride of place on my wash stand in my room in the hall of residence.

What was your biggest perfume mistake?
Two spring to mind. The first has to be Amarige by Givenchy. I bought it when it had just been released but it was far to sickly strong for me and made me feel quite unwell. I persevered for a good portion of the bottle, probably because I thought it was an ‘in’ designer scent. Most recently I bought a bottle of SoOud Ilham from Selfridges. A very pleasant sales assistant sprayed it on me and I walked around a while and thought it was different to what I usually go for so why not try it. What a mistake! My husband said it made him feel sick and he could smell me the other side of the house. Its has been archived to a cupboard after just one spray.

You can only choose one perfume, what would it be?
Oh this is so hard. I am a girl who loves to wear lots of different perfumes. If I had to choose just one, then it would have to be Chanel No5 pre-1995. I bought it when I was nineteen in a splash stoppered bottle and have loved it ever since.

What perfume should I try?
I have recently fallen back in love with the Avon perfumes of the 1970s and 1980s, especially Tasha. The Avon perfumes remind me of the period between 1983 and 1986 and wearing lace black gloves just like Madonna. If you have never smelt them then go find a bottle on eBay!

The full Deco London range is available direct from their website at along with more information on this exciting company.

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